I installed the new carrier belt yesterday, and Mike helped me fiddle with it until it moved cleanly without shifting. Â (This took nearly two hours!) Â I then ran some additional tests on different types of inks, etc. Â I found that, while I could get good results from pretty much everything, the best results came from a dark gray, laser printed original that had been ironed several times to remove excess toner. Â After satisfying myself that the screens were almost perfectly clear, I ran the test end-to-end, producing these prints:
See how beautifully the fine lines came out? Â (The penny gives you an idea of the scale.) Â And the dark portions are pure blue – except on the muslin, and I think that was user error – it was the last one printed and I was running out of ink, so the dark sections aren’t all filled in. Â The paper ones look great!
I’m now planning my print run for the weekend. Â I have five large T-shirt designs picked out, of which these three are my favorite:
(The images all come from various Dover books of Chinese cut-paper designs.)
I had considered doing a multicolor silkscreen for each of these, since I want to “color in” the various sections, but because these are all full-screen prints, doing so would be very expensive. Â (A single sheet of Thermofax screen costs $3.75 unless you buy in bulk.) Â Doing all five designs in four colors would be $75 worth of screens! Â It would also be quite fussy.
So I’ve decided to dye the shirt the color I want, then screen print, then paint and discharge the areas I want to be colored, then paint with thickened dye. Â This would have several advantages. Â First, it would give me finer control over color, since my dye samples are quite extensive and my collection of paint colors quite limited. Â (I’m also not very experienced at mixing paint.) Â Second, it gives me a chance to practice more surface design techniques, which would be good practice. Â And third, it’s cheaper!
It will take longer to do things this way – probably two weekends to produce a run of shirts – but I think it will be worthwhile. Â So that’s the plan.
Meanwhile, there are other fun things to dye! Â In particular, I want to do the sweatpants this weekend, so I can wear them when working out next week. Â I’ve decided to dye them black and print various small images on them in gold. Â I plan to use my running tiger logo (of course!) and do three or four other designs as well.
Socks are a bit harder, because they stretch. Â I plan to dye them, but probably not silkscreen over the dyed parts. Â if I do, it will be purely experimental, abstract designs.
And that’s my plans for the upcoming weekend. Â I may also do some fashion draping, if I have the time and inclination, and am hoping to sneak in some time to work on the book.